I don’t usually blog about Mad Men, in large part because I find that other people usually say whatever I might have said and more, but I just have to comment on Mystery Date, episode 3 (or 4, technically) of season 5.
Specifically, on Joan.
And what I want to say can basically be summed up in YOU GO, JOAN!
I think it’s pretty safe to say that we have all been waiting since the end of season 2 for Joan to kick her husband’s rapist ass to the curve. It’s been downright painful to see an amazing, fabulous woman like Joan weighed down by her husband, putting on a smiling mask to mas the fact that she knows that her dream life vanished before they were even married and that he’s just a small man with delusions of grandeur. Moreover, that he’s a small man whose very sense of self is threatened by Joan’s sheer fabulousness. She said it perfectly:
I’m glad the army makes you feel like a man; because I’m sick of trying to do it.
Joan obviously has been reluctant of leaving her and… I guess she might be afraid it would be like admitting failure? Somehow I don’t really think Joan was ever in denial; she’s just a woman who grits her teeth and deals with what life throws her. So I do think it was maybe more about not losing face and admitting that she wasn’t really getting the happily ever after with her surgeon husband. But she finally had enough.
I think finding out that he volunteered for a second tour in Vietnam made he realize that he really did feel completely emasculated by her, that he really was so insecure and petty and small that he couldn’t face actually being with his wife and newborn son* and “doing his duty” as a husband, as such things went back then, I guess.
*Nevermind that the kid isn’t even his, heh.
It was extremely telling that his reply to her was that being in Vietnam made him feel like a good man. And oh, Joan’s reply to that mad eme actually clap for her, fictional character in a tv series that she is.
“You’re not a good man. You never were, even before we were married, and you know what I’m talking about.”
We all know exactly what she was talking about. It was just so great to see her finally confront him about what he did. To see that she didn’t make herself think it wasn’t a horrible thing, that she deserved it. To see that this horrible little man really didn’t conquer this fierce goddess of a woman.
It was great to see Joan at her fiercest again.
Possibly the single best payoff in any tv series that I can remember.